The West Hollywood City Council has voted to eliminate a controversial deputy system that spawned high salaries, political infighting and embarrassing scandals involving allegations of office spying and sexual misconduct.
The council voted this week to do away with its current system, in which each of the five part-time elected officials had his or her own full-time deputy.
The deputies were paid between $99,838 and $137,487, received full benefits and even formed their own five-person union, the West Hollywood Council Deputies Assn., which sometimes took positions on items pending before the City Council. Several city officials told The Times that ongoing feuds among deputies sometimes made staff meetings difficult.
The deputies will be replaced by a team of city employees, who will provide services for all of the council members -- including scheduling, legislative support and constituent outreach — and ultimately answer to the city manager.
Critics of the council deputy system have said the council aides did not have much direct supervision because they answered to both the city manager and their individual council members, who have other jobs and typically are not at City Hall during the day.
The deputy system was eliminated Tuesday after the council voted 4-1 Monday to end it.
The city plans to have an external hiring process, and the new structure will take about six months to implement, said city spokeswoman Lisa Belsanti. The current deputies have the option to remain employed with the city for 45 days, she said.